Choosing a Polar Heart Rate Monitor
Who is the Company behind Polar Heart Rate Monitors?
Polar were the inventors of the first wireless heart rate monitor back in 1977 and have remained leaders in the manufacture of heart monitors since that time, combining quality production with constant innovation to become the most well-known brand.
Though Polar Electro are a Finnish company, they have an international presence and a number of in country official web sites such as Polar USA and Polar UK.
These web sites don't offer Polar heart monitors and accessories for sale but they do offer information about the products, instructions for heart rate monitor use and details of their after sales service.
The Range of Polar Heart Monitors
If you have decided to buy a Polar Heart Rate Monitor your only problem will be choosing among the vast array of heart rate monitors offered by the company and this is where I hope we can help.
There is a Polar heart monitor to suit everyone provided you have the budget to match. (They are not the cheapest monitors out there with prices ranging from around $70 for the simplest models to around $500 for the most expensive but for those of you who like to buy the best then this will probably not put you off).
Polar F Series
If you are looking for a heart rate monitor to help with general fitness and exercise then take a look at the F series of watches which are at the lower end of the price range.
The best selling Polar watch is the F6 which has coded transmission to prevent cross talk with other monitors. This is vital if you use your heart rate monitor at the gym or in any group exercise situation where others might also be using a monitor. It also has motivational features to help calculate your own personal heart rate training zones and gives feedback on calories and fat burn rates.
If you are going to go for a Polar heart rate monitor watch for a general fitness or health program then I recommend this over the F4, FS1, FS2 and FS3 models which lack these features – although women might like to consider the F4 specially designed for them to be slimmer and lighter on the wrist. (Still not much use if you get interference from other heart monitors in your group aerobics class however)
UPDATE 10/07 : Polar now provide several versions of the F6 specifically designed for women (the F6F) so I would definitely go for the F6 as opposed to the F4
Polar AXN Series
For extreme sports in rough or mountainous terrain look at the Polar AXN 300, AXN 500 and AXN 700 models which have specialized features well beyond calculating average heart rate. Depending on the model, the AXN Polar heart rate monitor watches include features like an altimeter, barometer, compass and vertical speed measurement.
Polar S Series
The Polar S series (model numbers S725X, S720i and S625X) is designed with performance cyclists and runners in mind though there is also a specialist range just for runners too with the RS running computer series and for cyclists with the CS cycling computer series.
And then there is also the S150 designed for triathletes and the S120 for recreational runners.
Polar really is something special in the heart rate monitor field largely due to continuous innovation. They add new features to their product range faster than any other manufacturer forcing the others to follow suit if they want to maintain any kind of market share.
You can download software from the Polar website which works with your Polar monitor to help you build up your fitness and keep track of progress. They have manuals online for all their products too
Polar Heart Monitors for Women?
Apart from the Polar F4 heart rate monitor (and recently the F6F) specifically designed with the smaller feminine wrist in mind all of the Polar hrm range is designed for both men and women. You will find that women are catered for with more feminine colors and designs in the more popular models - for example even the standard F6 model comes in coral pink and ice blue as well as the more masculine black colorway.
Polar have however brought out a “heart bra” which is a comfortable sports bra designed especially to wear with a Polar heart rate monitor strap. So even here they are innovative.
Polar Strapless Heart Rate Monitors
Despite the appeal of strapless Heart Rate Monitors, there are currently no such heart rate monitors in the Polar range. This is probably due to the fact that strapless models are simply not effective for the kinds of sophisticated functionality Polar is looking to offer. (To use a strapless heart rate monitor you need to stop exercising and place you fingers on the the wrist monitor - this means continuous heart rate monitoring is not possible).
Potential Problems with Polar heart rate monitors?
All products come with a standard guarantee and Polar have no reported quality problems. Replacement parts such as straps and transmitters are readily available if required and there is information on troubleshooting in the manuals and on the Polar official website.
I would say that the only slight drawback with a Polar heart rate monitor is that you can't buy Polar heart monitor batteries in a normal store. You need to get the batteries changed by an official service center – you can find a list of these on their website but it may mean being without your monitor for a short time for battery replacement.
Having said that, if you are buying an expensive unit it means that you will protect your investment by having the battery changed by a professional. (Average battery life is 1 year for the wrist receiver part of the heart rate monitor and 2500 hours of use for the chest strap transmitter).
Reviews of Polar heart rate monitors
You will find many comments about Polar heart rate monitors posted by buyers around the web but not many complaints.
Of the complaints I have seen, a few mentioned Polar battery replacement and others were upset about the download software interface not being compatible with MAC as standard.
Choosing a Polar Heart Rate Monitor is a wise move – a huge selection all with great features from a quality manufacturer
Where to Buy a Polar Heart Rate Monitor
Polar are very cautious in their distribution channels and deal only with reputable merchants. You can buy Polar products locally in departments stores and sports shops. Online they are only available through officially licensed channels such as Amazon.com. You will find the whole range of Polar heart rate moniors here at Amazon - they provide security and peace of mind when buying over the web.